National PA Week 2016 has wrapped up, with America's hard-working physician assistants (PAs) once again enjoying some well-deserved attention from all corners of the United States.
Technically, today is PA Week "Bonus Day," which the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) describes as a chance to prepare for the year ahead, which marks the official 50th anniversary (!) of the PA profession. "What are you doing to get ready for the 50th Anniversary of the Profession?" asks the AAPA. "Post a photo of you next to any sign that says 50. It can be a speed limit sign, house address or our new 50th Anniversary logo.
"Be creative and help us ring in 50 years of the PA Profession!"
PA Week 2016 Wrap-Up: A Roundup of PA News & Announcements
Marking the continuation of a yearly trend, 2016 saw the levels of publicity and awareness for PAs during National PA Went reaching new heights. In addition to our efforts here at Staff Care — the nation's leading locum tenens staffing company and a long-time advocate for the expanded utilization of locum tenens physician assistants within the healthcare workforce — many organizations and news outlets across the U.S. took a moment to celebrate physician assistants.
"PAs create access to healthcare providers, elevate health outcomes, and increase patient satisfaction," reported Clinical Advisor. "According to a 2014 Harris Poll survey conducted for the AAPA, about 93% of patients who recently saw a PA agreed that PAs are trusted healthcare providers. In addition, 92% of patients believe that seeing a PA makes it easier to get a medical appointment, and 91% find that PAs improve the quality of healthcare."
“Our PAs are valued members of our medical staff and play a vital role in making our community healthier," Haywood Regional Medical Center CEO Rod Harkleroad, RN, MMHC, told North Carolina's The Mountaineer. “PAs are proven to create access, elevate health outcomes, and increase patient satisfaction.”
Meanwhile, the PA profession is appealing to more students across the U.S., as well. For instance, entrance into Montana's Rocky Mountain College PA has become "highly competitive," according to the Billings Gazette. “The program right now has more applicants than we’ve ever had,” the PA program director said. “We have 800 applicants for 36 spots.”
Being a PA is "just a really great balance,” one PA student told the Gazette. “You get to see patients by yourself and make critical decisions, but you have your supervising physician to always help you out.”
“It’s an exciting time to be a PA on a health care team,” agrees Kathy Johnson, PA, the University of New Mexico School of Medicine's PA program coordinator, via the UNM HSC Newsbeat. “We have an opportunity to make a difference for our patients. It is so satisfying to know, at the end of the day, that your work has true meaning to others.”
"My favorite part of the job is post op care for patients, especially on the patients that I've been involved with from the very beginning," Virginia-based PA Maggie Kleinot, a neurosurgery specialist, told Charlottesville's CBS19. "I get to see them at their first visit, refer them to the surgeon, get them into surgery, help operate on them, see them in the hospital, and send them home. To see those patients return to the things they love doing is really tremendous."
And rounding out the great news for PAs — and for the healthcare industry in general — the AAPA capped PA Week with an exciting announcement that nine new PA programs have been awarded provisional accreditation status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), including:
- University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SC
- Chapman University, Irvine, CA
- Dominican University, River Forest, IL
- University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, CT
- University of the Pacific, Sacramento, CA
- North Greenville University, Greer, SC
- University of Evansville, Evansville, IN
- South University - Richmond, Glen Allen, VA
- University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
"The total number of accredited entry-level PA programs is now 218," the AAPA announcement states. "The total number of accredited clinical post-graduate programs is eight. According to ARC-PA, there are currently 32 potential PA programs in the pipeline that could go online by January 2019 if they make it through the accreditation process."
On a related note, the West Virginia State Medical Association has created a new category for association membership specifically for physician assistants in the state, reports the West Virginia MetroNews Network. “Physicians and physician assistants practice together in many different settings,” said the West Virginia State Medical Association's Brian Foy. “We’re natural allies and we believe this partnership will strengthen both professions.”
Staff Care's PA Week 2016 Contest Winner
Last but certainly not least, Staff Care is excited to announce the winner of our PA Week social media contest! Please join us in congratulating Tia Oliveri, a PA who scored the closest guess in our challenge to guess the number of tongue depressors in the jar pictured below.
Congratulations, Tia — and thanks to you and all the other PAs for the great work you do, not just during PA Week but all year around!
Are you a PA seeking great locum tenens job opportunities? We invite you to search locum PA jobs across the U.S. here, or contact us here to speak with a friendly, industry-savvy Staff Care locums recruiter today.
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